Last Thursday night, the Ravens lost a heart-breaker to the Atlanta Falcons, 26-21. The Ravens defense really showed its age this week, they just flat out looked tired, and the Ravens suffered a loss because of it. Their first half defense was especially poor. The Falcons opened the game up with a 28-yard pass from Matt Ryan to RB Jason Snelling. Matt Bryant then hit a 28-yard field goal to put the Falcons up by ten at the half. Down 10-0 at the half was lucky for the Ravens with the way they played, but they still needed to make an improvement to get back in it. Matt Bryant hit another field goal, this time from 51, to open up the second half. Then Flacco got the Ravens on the board, anchoring a nice drive and finishing it on a 5-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin. The Falcons looked to try and seal the deal with a touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to Roddy White, but the Ravens weren't done yet. The comeback started with a touchdown pass from Flacco to Mason, making the score 20-14. After a defensive stop, the Ravens got the ball back, and Flacco found the end zone again, a 9-yard pass to Todd Heap with just a minute left on the clock to give the Ravens the lead. This put the Ravens destiny in its defense's hands, something that us as Ravens fans are often pretty comfortable about. The Falcons started their drive deep in their own territory. On third down, Ryan went long for Michael Jenkins, who tiptoed at the sideline for a first down catch. The play was challenged, but was ruled complete even though he only had fingertip control, something I don't think actually exists in the NFL. This was just the first controversial play on the drive. Just a few plays later, Ryan went deep again, a 33-yard touchdown to Roddy White. It wasn't called, but White had pushed down Ravens CB Josh Wilson, allowing White to score and win the game for the Falcons.
Player of the Game: Falcons QB Matt Ryan-32/50 316 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns
Next week, the 6-3 Ravens travel to Carolina to face the 1-8 Carolina Panthers. The Panthers have had a disastrous year, losing two starting quarterbacks. This week, the Panthers will start Brian St. Pierre at quarterback, who just last week was a stay-at-home dad caring for his 18-month old child. St. Pierre's problems have quickly changed from calling his parents for help with the baby to calling audibles at the line for help against the Ravens defense. And being on one of the worst teams in the NFL against this defense won't help St. Pierre. As another sign of this horrible year, the Panthers running back Sunday will be Mike Goodson, who began the year as the third-string RB, but will start due to injuries to DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. LB Jon Beason leads the Panthers defense, who give up an average of 326.8 yards per game. Overall, this could be a tough day for the Panthers. I have the Ravens winning a not so close game, 31-13.
Key Matchups for Ravens at Panthers
Ravens CB Josh Wilson vs. Panthers WR Steve Smith Edge: Smith
Ravens LB Terrell Suggs vs. Panthers QB Brian St. Pierre Edge: Suggs
Ravens RB Ray Rice vs. Panthers LB Jon Beason Edge: Rice
Ravens WR Anquan Boldin vs. Panthers CB Chris Gamble Edge: Boldin
S Tom Zbikowski-Foot-OUT
G Chris Chester-Illness-QST
QB Jimmy Clausen-Concussion-OUT
S Marcus Hudson-Ankle-OUT
WR Brandon LaFell-Concussion-OUT
RB Jonathan Stewart-Concussion-OUT
RB Tyrell Sutton-Ankle-OUT
T Travelle Wharton-Toe-OUT
AFC North Standings
Team W L GB
Ravens 6 3 --
Steelers 6 3 --
Browns 3 6 3
Bengals 2 7 4
Well, that's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see you next week and go Ravens!!!